The UK government is planning to introduce vaccine passports – or immunity certificates – which will show “natural immunity” for people who have had Covid-19.
The government announced that vaccine passports on the NHS app will allow users to show whether they have developed “natural immunity” to Covid-19, which will be listed on the app for six months after they contracted the virus, without the need for an antibody test.
The scheme is part of the government’s Events Research Programme, which is trialling a variety of options for Covid vaccine passports when restrictions are lifted on July 19th.
Under the trial, people who have tested positive for Covid this year and are taking part will be issued 180-day natural immunity certificates, even if they have not had an antibody test.
The government is hoping that the scheme could eventually expand the number of people who could use vaccine passports to prove their immunity to the virus if they are approved for domestic use in the UK.
Events set to trial the scheme include Wimbledon and Euro 2020 matches, as a total of 20 events are set to take part in the scheme: Fans who attend and have tested positive in the last six months will have a green badge on the NHS app, confirming that they have a natural immunity to Covid.
Those taking part in the trial and have listed new Covid infections in the NHS app will still have to self-isolate for 14 days before they receive a green badge on their profile to show that they have Covid antibodies.
Government officials said that they are using the trials to determine the safest way to reopen events by measuring the impact of attendees being indoors or outdoors and seated or standing.
Whilst a domestic vaccine passport has not yet been introduced in the UK, it is expected that it would be implemented into the NHS app and will include information about a user’s vaccination status, but it could also include natural immunity for six months if this latest trial is successful.
On the 15th of June, Michael Gove said that whilst the delay of ‘Freedom Day’ from June 21st to July 19th was “regrettable”, it has given officials more time to test vaccine passports before their possible rollout in July.
Gove said: “Ultimately, we want to be in a position where people can use the app for international travel and where domestically we can open up completely.
“But these trials […] will help us understand what the risks and benefits are.”
It appears our worst fears are coming true: Vaccine passports will be introduced domestically within the UK, which will create division amongst groups and only ostracise the unvaccinated.